Blog Archives

James Franco: Keeping it Real

Prior to Spider-Man, James Franco was a relative unknown.  He was familiar to fans of the short-live sitcom, Freaks and Geeks, but Franco was hardly a household name.  Playing Harry Osborne didn’t make Franco a star, but it opened doors.  In this interview from the September 2002 issue of Movieline magazine, Franco was figuring out how to deal with his newfound fame.

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Worst to First: Ranking the Planet of the Apes movies

The ninth movie in the Planet of the Apes saga opens in theaters today.   That can only mean one thing.  It’s time to rank some Apes.  The first movie, released in 1968, was an adaptation of a French science-fiction novel (La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle).  That movie was followed by four sequels released annually from 1970-1973, a live-action TV series, a cartoon series and waves of Apes-related merchandise.  After a twenty-eight year absence from the big screen, Fox attempted to reboot the series, but their first effort was a misfire.  Then in 2011, they successfully launched a trilogy of prequels of which War for the Planet of the Apes is the most recent.

We won’t be ranking the latest movie because most of us (myself included) haven’t seen it yet.  But we will go ape (had to be done) ranking the rest of the movies in the series.

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April 19: Happy Birthday Tim Curry and James Franco



Tim Curry is turning 71 today.  The English actor began a distinguished stage career as part of the original West End cast of the musical Hair in 1968.  He is a three-time Tony nominee—for playing Mozart in the original Broadway production of Amadeus, Alan Swann in the musical adaptation of My Favorite Year, and King Arthur in Spamalot.  He also has received two Olivier Award nominations, for playing The Pirate King in a revival of The Pirates of Penzance, and again for Spamalot.

Another of Curry’s stage roles led to the beginning of his film career: he played Dr. Frank N. Furter in the original London production of The Rocky Horror Show, and then returned to the role in the film adaptation in 1975.  He has played a diverse range of characters on screen through the years, often but not always villainous and/or comic.  He has played Cardinal Richelieu in a version of The Three Musketeers, Wadsworth the butler in Clue, and a Romanian philanthropist in Congo.  He’s even worked with the Muppets.

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Spring Breakers Review

Spring Breakers

Directed by: Harmony Korine

Starring: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens

Grade: A-

Who would’ve thunk it? Harmony Korine has made a critical and financial success of a film, without sacrificing any artistic integrity (eat your heart out David Gordon Green). Spring Breakers is by far his most accessible film, and his most fun, a trend he started with his contribution to the 4th Dimension with Val Kilmer. Spring Breakers is a burn it to the ground, scathing subversion of the hedonistic pop culture world we live in, and the neon bikini wearing sheep who are doing nothing but imitating what they vaguely think MTV told them to do. But the beauty of it is that it’s so brilliantly disguised by Korine’s mad cap, hallucinatory avant-garde style, that most of the people who see it who are anything like those portrayed, will only think that it’s just badass. Since Korine has freed himself of the dogme 95 rules, and is now playing with the idea of doing something more than just simply provoking his audience, he is showing some real flair.

Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I had no intention of seeing this movie.  Frankly, I couldn’t think of anything that could be done with the Apes franchise that would interest me.  All the good ideas had been used up by the early 70s.  And you couldn’t recreate the shock value of the original.  So, I couldn’t get too excited about another attempt to restart the series.

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The Lowdown on the Planet of the Apes Movies

When I heard they were rebooting the Planet of the Apes franchise again, I had low expectations.  What was left to do with the concept?  However, against all odds, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is getting strong reviews.  (I’ll resist the urge to say they finally made a monkey out of me.)  So, hey, why not celebrate by looking back at the long-running franchise!

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